Framework Madness!

And other adventures C# and asp.net …

Asp.net Web Forms – A Long Rearrangement

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Dear Asp.net Web Forms,

I have for the most part enjoyed working with you. You have been a good friend, a constant companion, a great enabler. You allowed me to be far more productive than your ancestor, in revision now known as Classic ASP. Even now, right now, as I right this late at night you and I are engaged in a long battle at work – cranking out an eCommerce project using your latest and most greatest features such as Dynamic Data. And yet, even now while we are so closely engaged – I have to admit that your darling first cousin has caught my eye, you know her – ASP.net MVC.

sorcerers-apprentice6[1]You see Web Forms – for all of your power and ease of development, you are not simple to deal with in large projects. Your pattern is fairly rigid – and breaking out is, well, painful. So while am am enamored by all of your curvy controls, you make it hard for me to do what I really want in large applications. And what I want to do is control everything that my app does: I want to easily swap out page views for mobile devices with out configuring multiple web sites, I want my links to be application contextual,  I want to be able to configure any point in the app pipeline, I want to be the master of all routes, and I want to use multiple forms on a page  – please. For all of your programming ease you make this really hard to do, yet MVC makes this easy. And did I fail to mention that I don’t need you to do styles or simulate client events anymore? The browsers have gone and gotten all grown up – and that jQuery guy does some serious kung fu which makes programming cross-browser exponentially easier than it use to be.  Oh – and dude – your HTML and CSS markup up is so late 90’s! I know you know ….

Sure – MVC is not fully grown up and doesn’t have controls yet, if ever. But – it has some great features you don’t and won’t ever have (model binding), it’s taking on a few of your more recent tricks in its forthcoming new version (data annotations and field templates), but most importantly it’s just going to let me make that app I’ve been wanting to make with out all of the crazy hacking you would require (and not to mention the waiting for your next release). It’s not always easy to use MVC, like when trying to make a grid with sorting and paging, but most of it’s ‘magic’ is simple and easily extensible – and Web Forms that’s just not in your make up.

But, were not done yet, and the truth is that hopefully an end is a long time in coming. MVC does take a bit more work to get started, and in some places it just won’t work because it’s not what the customer needs. And it looks like sometimes I will just need you to get along with MVC in the same app. So in the coming months ahead you are just going to have to learn to work side by side. Sometimes Web Forms you will lead, and other times MVC will. But I will need to work with both of you. You’re both valuable. So let’s just call it a rearrangement.

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Written by Lynn Eriksen

September 10, 2009 at 4:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

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